DVD released: July 27, 2004
Cast: Marc Singer, Jane Badler, Robert Englund, Faye Grant, Michael Ironside, Jeff Yagher
Verdict: && for general audiences, &&& with '80s/geek factor
Without the image of the reptilian aliens dangling mice in the air and lowering them almost sensuously into their mouths, V probably never would have made it past the first mini-series. For its time, the devouring of mice whole was a morbidly compelling gross-out moment. Then, there was the peeling away of the human skin to reveal the vile creatures underneath, unmasking the evil we always suspected to be lurking within authority figures (never mind that they're wearing hideous jumpsuits that appear to be leftovers from the set of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century). This short-lived TV series, which followed two successful miniseries – the first quite good, the second not so much – is, for the most part, goofy sci-fi fun for viewers willing to overlook some truly awful special effects and A-Team-caliber action scenes. The most enjoyable stretch is episodes two through six, in which we witness the development of the alien-human hybrid Starchild; a virtual-reality style ruse designed to milk information from resistance leader Mike Donovan; the conversion of Donovan's son into a member of the Visitor Youth Corps; and an over-the-top episode in which Visitors gather at a conference to salivate as humans are transformed into food. The cast does the best with what it has, particularly Jane Badler as conniving alien queen Diana. By the series' midpoint, however, it's quite clear that the writers had run out of ideas, and the handwriting is leaping off the wall and slapping you in the face by the later episode in which half the cast is killed or sent away and the tighter opening title sequence is replaced by an incredibly long, aimless one – possibly to fill time? Watch V not for compelling space drama or allegory but for Diana's Dynasty-worthy catfights with big-haired alien nemesis Lydia (June Chadwick), and there's fun to be had.
// DVD notes // 19 episodes on three double-sided discs with Dolby Digital mono audio. Zilch extras. C'mon, would nobody talk about how Marc Singer's pants got tighter in every episode?
// Other TV on DVD // Battlestar Galactica Season 1 • The Twilight Zone (1985-86)